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Table Of Contents  The Online Freelancing Guide
 >  An Analysis and Review of Popular Online Freelancing Marketplace Sites
      >  Elance - Freelance Marketplace Site Analysis and Review

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Elance - Project Quantity and Marketplace Size
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Elance - Project Discipline Focus
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Elance - Project Quality
(Page 1 of 3)

There are lots of projects posted on Elance every day, so they’ve got quantity down. But how’s the quality of those projects? Let’s take a look.

General Project Quality Assessment

If you ask the nice folks who run Elance, they will of course tell you that their marketplace has the highest quality projects around. What site wouldn’t? :) Yet if you listen to some of the more disgruntled Elance freelancers, they will tell you that Elance is positively overrun with the worst project listings imaginable. The truth, based on my extensive experience as an Elance user, is pretty much in the middle: the general quality of Elance projects is about average to slightly above average. That’s based on a relative scale, compared to the average project quality found on other sites, of course.

I think one reason why there is so much disagreement about the overall quality level of Elance jobs is that there is a pretty wide range of quality across a large number of projects. There are a lot of good clients, and also some fly-by-night operations who exploit a weak screening process to post junk (more on that later). So, it’s easy to hand-pick a few project listings and come away with the feeling that the site has very good projects on it, and also easy to open a few duds and get the general impression that the marketplace has a lot of junk in it.

On the whole, though, I think Elance does a pretty decent job in this area. I’ve read many thousands of Elance project postings, and most of them come from legitimate clients who are looking for real work to be done. There are certainly clunkers: projects that aren’t really projects at all, clients looking for slave labor, and so forth. But these are a relatively low percentage of the total. There are also few clearly unethical project listings, such as ones that involve academic fraud, copyright violations, illegal activities, or the spamming of websites.

Overall, the rates offered by the typical Elance project are quite decent for the online marketplace, and that’s a notable achievement given Elance’s volume. While there’s definitely room for improvement here, I believe Elance’s general quality is higher than the other two sites that have comparable marketplace size: oDesk and Freelancer.com.

Prohibited Projects

In addition to the standard exclusions of projects involving illegal activity, Elance also has a few important classes of prohibited projects. These includes ones involving the following:

  • Adult or sexually explicit material.

  • Bulk email or spam.

  • Work that involves plagiarism or violates the academic integrity of an institution.

  • Anything that violates the terms and conditions of a third-party site.

See the discussion of ethical policy for more details.


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Elance - Project Quantity and Marketplace Size
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Elance - Project Discipline Focus
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